“There’s something about it that makes sense, Lent. You give something up, and everything’s more joyful.” -Elaine Stritch
No, I am DEFINITELY not a Catholic, but I have decided to observe Lent this year. Lent, the season of prayer, fasting, and observance before Easter Sunday begins today, on Ash Wednesday. Although traditionally observed by Catholics, I think there is something to be gained for all believers in this season of observance.
One of the key factors of Lent is giving something up (and no, I will not tell you what that is for me). Unfortunately, many in the world that go through Lent as a simple ritual give something up, and then proceed to complain about it, count off the days, and just think about that thing. They don’t realize what is truly to be gained when you lay something down.
Honestly, the theme of Lent could be ‘Jesus is BETTER’.
I think one reason why most non-Catholic believers don’t participate in Lent is because we’ve come to view it as a traditional ritual lacking significance. It certainly can be that if it’s not centered on Christ, but truly, Lent is all about acknowledging that Jesus is BETTER. He’s better than whatever we give up, and he was certainly better than dying on a cross for humanity (yet he did that anyway).
Lent gives an opportunity to remove things that distract from Jesus, or remove things that will make us dependent on him. It gives us a chance to use our cravings and longings as catalysts to prayer. It gives us a period of time where we can truly focus on the greatness of our Savior, and how we can be more like him.
If you think Lent would be a great way to lose some weight or break a social media addiction, you’re looking at it from the wrong perspective. Sure, building healthy habits as a secondary result of Lent would be lovely. Yet, our prime focus is on CHRIST and our primary goal is to draw closer to him in this season.
We can’t save ourselves; we are only saved through the blood of Christ. However, we should strive to turn from sin and become more like Jesus, and Lent allows us to focus on confession, grieve the sin that grieves the Father, and become active in laying it down. It is a period of time completely focused on holiness.
Jesus laid down his life for you and I. Will you join me in laying something down within your life so that you can draw closer to him during this season?